“I would also encourage us to remember that we have come a long way and though we still have some tough days ahead there will soon come a time where all of this will be behind us.”
This last Monday something took place that has not happened since 2010 and will not happen again until 2027. What was this rare event that many of us missed? It was that this year February started on a Monday and it will end on a Sunday. February is the only month where that is even possible.
For many of us, though, we possibly did not even know it was already February. The pandemic has impacted us in many, many ways and one of them is related to our perception of time and how we are experiencing it.
We all know that time is basically a constant. A second is a second no matter what you do. You cannot personally speed up time or slow it down. And yet we all know that we can feel as if time is flying by or dragging on. This is because we can perceive it that way. Though physically time does not change, psychologically our perception of time is incredibly malleable.
Did you know that color can impact our perception of time? Blue can actually speed it up while red can slow it down. Heat can also change it with time feeling faster when we are hotter. Even music can impact time for us, but ironically it is slow tempo music that seems to speed up time while fast tempo slows it down.
The pandemic and lockdowns are playing havoc with our perception of time. The problem is that normally in our lives we are receiving cues that help us keep time in context. These cues can be short little events during the day like getting into the car to head to work or even long drawn out events like seasons of the year. Many of our cues are gone because of Covid and with that our perception of time. This is why it seems like it has been forever since the MCO was enacted earlier this year and yet many of us were quite surprised when we realized this week that it was already February.
So what can we do about this, not just for ourselves but for our kids? The best thing to do is to try to develop cues for you and your family. This can be taking a walk at the same time each day. Drinking a cup of coffee or tea at a certain time each day. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time or creating a cue related to “going to work” or going to school and then ending work or ending school. The key is having cues that help you keep time in perspective.
Along with establishing cues, I would also encourage us to remember that we have come a long way and though we still have some tough days ahead there will soon come a time where all of this will be behind us. We will get through this. This will not last forever, though it might feel like it is and in 2027 when February starts on a Monday for the first time again, we will be shocked at how quickly time has flown by and how long it has been since the pandemic subsided. Until then, you might want to paint your room blue, turn off the air conditioner, and listen to some Jazz.
Written by Karl Steinkamp
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